There’s no such thing as too many quick and simple weeknight chicken dinner ideas. This Margarita Chicken begins with a flavorful spiced flour coating and finishes with a zesty tequila-infused sauce, making it the ideal dish for a sunset serenade. Despite any misconceptions, this dish is truly family-friendly.
This is a perfectly, quick, juicy and fruity meal that I enjoy making and eating. The chicken has such a nice flavor and easily cooks to perfection.
Related: Chicken with Apricots
Margarita Chicken Recipe
The seasonings, while simple, give the chicken an appetizing color and help transform this meal into a fantastic option for both weeknights and weekends.
I know a handful of you will ask me if you can substitute chicken breasts for the thighs, and you can, however, you will not achieve the same tender, juicy, flavorful result you’ll find here. Chicken breasts simply don’t offer the same delicious qualities as thighs. But again, that’s entirely up to you.
I love pairing this chicken with seasoned Jasmine rice, a simple combination of cooked rice infused (stirred in) with butter, cilantro, green onion, and a squeeze of lime juice once it’s done cooking. It makes for the ideal accompaniment to this dish and adds an appealing touch to the presentation.
Why I Love This Recipe
- Tender Chicken: It uses chicken thighs that stay juicy and tender when cooked.
- Easy Ingredients: You’ll find common ingredients like olive oil, onions, and garlic, making it simple to prepare.
- Unique Touch: Tequila adds a special twist to the dish.
- Looks Nice: The colorful ingredients make it visually appealing.
The complete, printable recipe is at the end of this post.
All-purpose flour: Used for coating the chicken thighs, providing a crispy texture when seared.
Paprika: Adds a smoky and slightly spicy flavor to the dish, enhancing its overall taste.
Garlic powder: Provides a subtle garlic flavor to season the chicken.
Skinless boneless chicken thighs: The main protein source in the dish, they become tender and flavorful when braised in the sauce.
Salt: Enhances the overall flavor of the dish and seasons the chicken.
Olive oil: Used for cooking the chicken and sautéing the onions and garlic, adding a rich and savory depth to the dish.
Yellow onion: Adds a sweet and aromatic element to the dish.
Garlic cloves: Contribute a pungent and aromatic flavor, complementing the overall taste.
Dried tropical fruit (a mixture): Provides a sweet and fruity component to the dish, adding depth and complexity to the sauce.
Fresh orange juice: Infuses the dish with a bright, citrusy flavor, balancing the sweetness of the fruit and the richness of the other ingredients.
Tequila: Adds a unique and complementary flavor to the sauce, contributes to tenderizing the chicken, and helps deglaze the pan for a flavorful sauce.
How To Make Margarita Chicken
Here is a condensed version of how to make this recipe, full instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
- Preheat the oven.
- Coat chicken in seasoned flour.
- Brown chicken in a skillet.
- Sauté onion and garlic; add fruit-juice mixture to the skillet.
- Pour the mixture over chicken in a baking dish.
- Bake until chicken is done, approximately 20 minutes.
- When coating the chicken with the seasoned flour, shake off any excess to ensure a thin, even coating that will become crispy when seared.
- Make sure the skillet is hot before adding the chicken. This helps achieve a good sear, sealing in the juices and flavor.
- Microwaving the dried fruit mixture helps soften the fruit and infuse it with the flavors of the juice and tequila before adding it to the skillet.
- Use a meat thermometer to check if the chicken is fully cooked. It should reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Consider garnishing the finished dish with fresh herbs or a citrus zest for an appealing presentation.
- Feel free to experiment with different varieties of dried tropical fruit or additional seasonings to tailor the dish to your personal taste.
- What’s the best type of tequila to use for Margarita Chicken? Any decent-quality tequila will work, but I prefer a blanco (silver) for its clean, pure flavor that doesn’t overpower the dish.
- Can I make this dish without alcohol (tequila)? You can make this dish without tequila, but it will lack some of the unique flavors that the tequila contributes.
- Is this recipe suitable for kids or people who don’t consume alcohol? The alcohol in the tequila typically cooks off during preparation, but if you have concerns about alcohol content, you can omit it or replace it with an alternative like chicken broth.
- Can I use fresh fruit instead of dried tropical fruit? The dried tropical fruit adds concentrated flavor and a chewy texture. Fresh fruit will not impart the same result.
- Can I prepare the chicken in advance and finish it in the oven just before serving? Yes, you can partially prepare the dish in advance by following the steps until you transfer the chicken to the baking dish. Finish the baking step just before serving to ensure the chicken stays tender.
- After the dish has cooled to room temperature, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure the container is tightly sealed. The chicken can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- If you want to store the dish for a longer period, freezing is an option. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container or freezer-safe bags. Label with the date for reference. Properly frozen, it can be stored for 2-3 months.
More Easy Chicken Dinner Recipes
- Cashew Kung Pao Chicken
- Chicken Piccata
- Apricot Glazed Chicken Breasts
- Mediterranean Chicken Skillet
- Chicken and Rice
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- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 2 tsps. garlic powder
- 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 pounds)
- 2 tbsps. olive oil, divided
- cooking spray
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dried tropical fruit, chopped (I used a mixture of pineapple, mango & golden raisins (leave the raisins whole))*
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup tequila (gold or silver)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a plastic bag, mix flour, paprika, and garlic powder. Season the chicken generously with salt. One by one, place the chicken pieces into the flour mixture, shaking the bag to coat them evenly.1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp. paprika, 2 tsps. garlic powder, 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 pounds), salt
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add half of the chicken thighs and cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until they are lightly browned. Repeat with the remaining chicken and another tablespoon of oil. Then, transfer the browned chicken to an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.2 tbsps. olive oil, divided, cooking spray
- Add the onion to the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Then, add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute. In a microwave-safe dish, combine the dried fruit, juice, and tequila, then microwave on high for 2 minutes to soften the dried fruit. Pour this fruit-juice mixture into the pan with the onions, bring it to a boil while scraping the pan to loosen any browned bits, and cook for 1 more minute. Finally, pour the onion-dried fruit mixture evenly over the chicken.1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced, 5 cloves garlic, minced, 1/2 cup dried tropical fruit, chopped (I used a mixture of pineapple, mango & golden raisins (leave the raisins whole))*, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 1/4 cup tequila (gold or silver)
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Season with salt to taste once more if desired.
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